Instructors rarely provide training for the after effect. They spend a lot of time training the mind for the event, but not for what happens after the event is over. Think about it! People invest a lot of time and energy in preparing for a shooting they pray will never happen. When faced with the situation their training pays off tenfold. They move through their conditioned responses without conscious thought.  Through training, the individual was empowered to respond to the attacks and perform effectively while working through the stress and overcoming the attack. In plain language, they “WON.”  But, the struggle does not end there.

You need to prepare yourself for what happens after the event takes place. I call this the after effect. Too many people focus solely on the encounter itself. However, when you are forced to cause injury to another person, it can have a profound emotional impact on you. Additionally, there is the physiological impact the stress itself had on your bodies. You put forth 100 percent of your combat abilities and fatigued your body completely. It is also possible you may have sustained sports-related type injuries.

When you consider the after effect of combat, you need to think about all of it.  You need to give your body time to repair any damage suffered from the attack or sustained by using your muscles to their maximum capabilities. The event can cause exhaustion as well as concerns about what you were forced to do.   Treating the body is the more natural part of the recovery equation.  You need to consider how your mind responds to the event.

I submit you need to think about the techniques you train on and their desired effect.  You need to accept the potential for the injury being inflicted and the significance of that damage. For example, when faced with a life or death situation you may choose a technique that can result in the death of your attacker.  These potential injuries need to be accepted before the event takes place.  If not, the after effect may have a more profound impact on you following the incident. 

For example, many officers in law enforcement have been forced to shoot someone. They make the right decision, use their firearm successfully, and the attacker dies as a result. Unfortunately, some officers do not consider and accept this outcome as a possibility. The officer’s lack of preparation may cause them to experience great difficulty in dealing with the decision after the fact. This training failure had often resulted in the officer leaving a career they loved.

I am not suggesting you should want to hurt or kill someone, but you must be “willing.”  You must prepare yourself for the outcome. Your training must stress the need to understand the effect stress will have on you following the event and ways to cope with it.  Most importantly, you need to be sure you accept what you do during combat is necessitated by the attacker and a direct result of the decisions “THEY” make.